It used to be that there were car companies and SUV companies. For Jaguar Land Rover – the marriage of the two companies that came following Ford's disownment – the former dealt with the cars and the latter built the big, off-road stuff.

Now, Jaguar has fouled up this symmetry with the F-Pace, its first crossover SUV. But we'll forgive the iconic British brand, because the F-Pace is an extremely competent, stylish take on today's car-based crossovers.

Pricing and Equipment

Based on the same platform as the redesigned XF sedan – notice how both cars share the “F” in their names? – Jaguar offers the F-Pace with either a 2.0-liter, turbodiesel four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 (a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder is coming in 2018). Both engines work alongside an eight-speed automatic to send power to a standard all-wheel-drive system.

There are three separate versions of the F-Pace – 20d, 35t, and S – while the first two variants are available in four separate trim levels – base, Premium, Prestige, and R-Sport – which come with a varying array of equipment. The 20d's turbodiesel four-cylinder pumps out 180 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque while the 35t runs with Jaguar Land Rover's familiar supercharged V6 to generate 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. The S, meanwhile, uses a more potent version of the same supercharged engine to score 380 hp while retaining the same torque output. But regardless of which version you opt for, the F-Pace comes quite well equipped.

Starting at $41,990 (not including a $995 destination charge) the base F-Pace diesel comes standard with:

  • 18-inch wheels
  • 380-watt, 11-speaker Meridian stereo
  • Sliding panoramic sunroof
  • Power liftgate
  • LED taillamps
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Bluetooth connectivity

The Premium, which we expect to be the volume model, demands $45,200, while the Prestige starts at $49,700. Finally, Jag priced the stylish R-Sport and range-topping S $54,900 and $57,700, respectively. Upgrading from the diesel to the supercharged V6 costs a mere $1,400. Naturally, Jaguar offers a range of option groups designed to add visual spice or comfort-focused options to the F-Pace packages – headliners on lesser trims include a Vision Package that adds LED headlights, a Navigation Package that adds, um, navigation, and a Climate Package with heated/vented seats. The V6 engines return identical fuel economy, at 18 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, and 20 combined. The EPA hasn't gotten around to evaluating the diesel F-Pace.

Performance Pros

Jaguar F-TYPE
  • The supercharged F-Pace's performance is extremely potent. Speed demons will adore the S model's 380 hp and 5.1-second run to 60 miles per hour.
  • The standard eight-speed automatic transmission, from Germany's ZF, is sold in a huge array of vehicles beyond Jaguar Land Rover, and has a very positive performance reputation. The F-Pace won't change that.
  • Outside its rival from Porsche, the F-Pace might be the most agile vehicle in this class, boasting sports sedan-like handling.

Performance Cons

  • Road noise is an issue in models with larger wheels. We'd recommend against the larger alloys and suggest adding the adaptive dampers – which provide a better balance between performance and comfort – wherever possible.
  • The supercharged V6 is happy to sing under hard throttle. If that's a problem, the 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder is a better choice.
  • A 2,400-pound tow rating is disappointing – sister company Land Rover's new Discovery might be a better choice for your boat or camper.

Interior Pros

  • Super supportive front seats encourage sporty driving but are still comfortable over long hauls or in traffic jams.
  • Jaguar's fit, finish, and attention to detail remain impressive.

Interior Cons

  • The sloping roofline and high beltline mean second-row headroom is tight.
  • The 33.2 cubic feet of space behind the second row is tight.
  • Jaguar Land Rover's InControl infotainment system is an improvement over past systems, but it still pales in comparison to the tech from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The F-Pace is a biggish, high-riding vehicle, but especially in S trim, is remarkably capable in the corners. Tight, fast steering and minimal amounts of body roll do nothing but give the driver confidence.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

A diesel and a supercharged V6 don't give customers a lot of options – one requires pricier fuel, while the other isn't terribly efficient. The addition of a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder next year should solve the problem.

The Bottom Line

The Jaguar F-Pace isn't a traditional family crossover, but it is a solution for the consumer that wants a sports sedan but needs more utility and space without surrendering to crossoverdom.